June 3, 2010
The salt trade was key to Salzburgs success in the 1600s and 1700s. Most of the salt was mined here at Hallein, about nine miles South of Salzburg and packed on ships that sailed up and down the Salzach.
Salt was described as “white gold” in Salzburg’s history. Salt deposits created a treasure chamber millions of years ago in the Dürrnberg mountains near Hallein. Over 2,500 years ago Celtic tribes were already mining this precious gift of the mountain, which is evidenced by the archeological traces they left behind.
Wearing white overalls and sliding down the sleek wooden chutes, we cross underground from Austria into Germany while learning about the old-time salt mining process. We walk from cavern to cavern, for many kilometers, learning about the history of the mine.
Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau mined the salt in these mountains, and transformed this plentiful supply of “white gold” into lots of real gold that he used to transform Salzburg into a world-class Baroque city.
There is also an open-air Celtic Village that one can explore with authentic demonstrations and folk art. The reconstructed Celtic Village offers a unique stroll through life about 2,500 years ago. Many original finds from the excavations on the Dürrnberg are showcased here.
There is a burial chamber of a real Celtic lord on his chariot was unearthed here in the mountains which proves this region was inhabited by many Celtic tribes thousands of years ago.
Video from our visit: